Last April, Waits and I attended the historic Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival. Unfortunately, it was not what I expected. And that night I went home, and I wrote that teary, heartfelt post, and I said my piece, and I renewed my resolve, and then I moved on. Life goes on.
But then, a few weeks later, I was contacted by a woman named Sigrid. Sigrid is the assistant director for The Community Environmental Council, which is the non-profit organization that runs the SB Earth Day Festival. As it turns out, she had read my piece. And she invited me in for a meeting.
Funny what a little blog can do.
So I went, not quite knowing what to expect. That first morning I met with one of the event coordinators, the food and music coordinator, and Sigrid. And what was so amazing, was how receptive they all were to what I was saying. They were so open-minded! No, they weren’t ready to convert the entire festival to strictly-vegan, right then and there (and I wasn’t asking them to). But they listened, and they asked questions. And when it was all said and done, they invited me to be a part of planning the 2014 Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival, so that it would be more inclusive, more reflective of holistic environmentalism, and more animal-friendly.
Amazing, what a little blog can do.
So, since that initial meeting, I’ve stayed in touch with Sigrid. We’ve shared a number of working lunches, bouncing ideas back and forth as we approach this upcoming Earth Day. I’ve also met with the online marketing coordinator (who is vegan, yay!), and I even wrote a guest article for the CEC blog. A lot has come out of that one little blog post, and I really feel like this story is a powerful testament to the impact we can have when we just raise our voices and speak out!
But maybe that’s another post for another time.
For now, the 2014 Earth Day Festival is shaping up to be an awesome event. And there will be big changes this year. With vegan food!
So. This is the part where you come in.
I am registering a booth at Earth Day! It’s called “Eat Plants, Save The Planet” and it’s going to focus on veg outreach in the context of environmentalism. We’re going to have vegan literature, kids activities, product coupons, giveaways, cookbooks to peruse, specialists to chat with, the whole nine yards! This is a weekend-long festival and last year saw over 35,000 attendees. That is a TON of potential new veg*ns!
But the catch is, I have to rent the space. And that’s where I need some help! I’m asking for donations to help me cover the weekend. I’ll need to pay for the space, and also rent equipment (table, chairs, umbrella, etc). If you can afford to help me out, even just a few bucks, it would mean so much to me. I want to showcase a powerful, positive vegan presence at this year’s festival!
You can donate through PayPal, here:
In my Earth Day post last year, I concluded with these words:
And the mantra “Be the change you wish to see in the world” has been chanting itself in my head all night.
Why wasn’t veganism represented at Earth Day? Because I wasn’t there representing it.
Why were those animals being publicly tortured? Because we haven’t been hollering our oppositional voices loudly enough.
So that’s my lesson, Earth Day 2013.
Consider my fire re-ignited.
Whether you can afford to donate to the effort, or you just want to cheer us on, I hope those words and this whole little story helps to ignite your own fires. Because this really is a real, tangible example of how our own small voices have power in this world, and that we really can affect change. Burn bright, my friends. BURN BRIGHT!
♥ ♥ ♥
PS – SoCal folks! I am looking for volunteers to man the booth all weekend, and help Waits, Jeremy, and I share our message of environmental veganism. I would LOVE to meet some Bonzai readers, so if you’re interested in being a part of the party, hit me up! info AT bonzaiaphrodite DOT com
This past Sunday, February 2nd, Waits and I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Raw Living Expo here in southern California. I’m a veteran Veg Fest attendee, but this was my first strictly-raw event, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. As well, I had the wee 3 year old in tow (with his very own press pass, haha!) so I wasn’t sure how the day would unfold. Calm and engaged exploration of all things raw? Or cranky tantrum explosion with a side of kale chips? It’s pretty unpredictable these days . . . )
As it went, we had a wonderful time and the little mister worked that expo like a pro, I’d say. Especially considering the amount of raw cacao he was ingesting, oi! We didn’t make it to any of the talks, but that’s okay. We had a great time wandering the convention floor, checking out the goods and talking to friendly folks.
We found all sorts of fun new stuff, but we also had the chance to rediscover some of our old favorites. The truth is, between divorce, an out-of-state move, and the aftermath of those two things, I’ve been a bit out of touch with the raw community in recent years. So for me, the Raw Living Expo was a perfect opportunity to reignite that old flame. I can’t believe I’d forgotten how inspiring the raw food world can be!
We ate a lot of awesome stuff that day, and saw so many amazing products. From juicers and blenders, to essential oils and power crystals, to kale chips, flax crackers and of course, more raw chocolate than any sane parent would ever knowingly and voluntarily offer to a three year old (I plead insanity?)
I really wanted to find you all some extra-special raw beauty and body products, but alas, there just weren’t any stand-outs for me. Sorry guys! But as far as food and lifestyle go, there was lots to love. So, may I please present to you: My tippy top three items that gave me a ridiculous case of the “OMG excited!”s.
Word on the street is, Brussels sprouts are the next big green. What do you think? Are you a die-hard kale fan, or are you open to crowning a new Queen Crucifer?
Regardless of your ultimate allegiance, there’s no denying these Brussel Bytes are the BOMB. Brought to us by Wonderfully Raw – the team behind the oh-so-delectable Coco-roons – this new product just knocked my dang socks off. It’s basically like a kale chip, but with a bit more chew. Heavenly. AWESOME. Brussels Bytes should be available in Whole Foods soon, but for now you can order them online.
Dudes. Did you know there’s such a thing as a freestanding and portable sauna??! I had no idea!
These ClearLight infrared saunas are amazing. Seriously, where do I sign up? They’re made from sustainably harvested cedar wood! They only have a 4×4 ft footprint! You can put them anywhere!!!
Okay, so I know it’s sort of a weird thing to put on this little list, but I couldn’t not include it. Because, well, it really was my second favorite thing I saw all day.
Sweating is one of the absolute easiest (and actually, you now, scientifically proven) ways to “detox” the body. And that’s why saunas (steam rooms, sweat lodges, etc) have been used by so many cultures as part of their cleansing and healing practices. I swear, just being inside that small warm space, I totally felt my entire body relax.
This product is not only genius simplicity, but it’s also FUN! Coco Jack is basically comprised of a stainless steel tool and a rubber mallet – both food grade and both made in the USA. Together, this odd pair unites in harmony to form the perfect coconut-opener. Yup, that’s all. So no more whacking and hacking blindly with large and dangerous blades. Just a perfectly round hole in the top of your young coconut, every single time:
So yes, as simple as it sounds, the Coco Jack was easily, EASILY the best thing I saw all day. And if you eat young coconuts on any kind of regular basis, you’ll probably want one of these.
Also, this shirt needs to get in my closet, STAT. Brilliant, right?!
I had so much fun at the Raw Living Expo, reconnecting with the awesome raw community and renewing my passion for this exciting, vibrant lifestyle. But mostly, for me, it was such a blessing to spend the day with my son, sharing this with him, now that he’s old enough to begin to understand.
Hello hello everyone, and happiest weekend to all of you! I am exhausted, happy and exhausted, at the end of another busy week. I’m looking forward to Saturday, my “me” day, when Damian has Waits and Jeremy is at work all day, and I get to just hole up in my house and get all introvert-y. And yes, I work all day, but I get to do it completely alone for the WHOLE day, and it is bliss.
Simple pleasures, right?
So, I need feedback! I’m so excited that Waits and I will be attending the Raw Living Expo this Sunday. With double press passes, even, because he is my media right-hand-man, that one. Anyone else planning to go to this??
The Raw Living Expo is the world’s premier raw food lifestyle celebration, featuring renowned speakers from across the globe, cooking demos and workshops, and of course, lots of food! I’ll be there with wee Waits Rebhal, Instagramming all our favorite finds, but I also plan to write a full recap next week. So, my question to you is – what do you want to see??? With Waits along for the ride, I’m not sure I’ll be able to catch any talks – but I sure can try. Or, would you rather I focus of fun food and lifestyle products? New books and cookbooks? Orrr . . . ?
And now, it’s been a few months since we did one of these silly little videos, but our Vegan Cuts Snack Box came in the mail last week, so I whipped out the camera and filmed a little unboxing video. Waits and I always have so much fun doing these, so I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
If you’re interested in trying out Vegan Cuts, and getting a snack or beauty box delivered to your door each month, you can use those links and I’ll get a little kickback. It’s a great way to support my work on this site, and get something seriously awesome for yourself at the same time!
And now, one of my very favorite ways to end the week, with a great big pile of gratitude-y goodness. Ladies and gentleman, it’s time for Le Love List!
This evening (as I write this – Thursday night) I did a 3-hour-long Matlab for my ecological modeling class. It’s always a gnarly experience, but this week for the first time I felt like I was keeping pace with the rest of the class, and I even moved ahead at times. My transition back into school has been rough and rocky, let me tell you. But it’s wonderful to watch my science brain reawakening after all these years. And I’m finally feeling back in the swing of things! // Oh also, 3 hours at MatLab without a single break should always be followed up with gluten free vegan pizza and beer, amiright? // Getting totally random emails from women named Sayward WHO ARE ALSO VEGAN, seriously what are the chances?? There’s only a handful of us Saywards out there, and I always love running into them. Such a small club that me and my name-kin are running, haha. // Exciting lunch meetings with the director of Earth Day (remember last year?), planning and collaborating for a more inclusive, more animal-friendly event this year. I can’t believe where that one little blog post led. Never underestimate the power of your own words!
Having the songs from The Book Of Mormon stuck in my head all week. Better yet, hearing Jeremy humming and singing them too! This was his first musical ever, and he loved it! I am so excited, as a tried-and-true musical theatre geek, to begin to share this with him. // In the past I’ve celebrated birth-weekends, birth-weeks, and even, for my thirtieth when I was pretty depressed, we did an entire birth-month of celebrating. But this year it was a birthDAY, only a day, and it was the best damn birth-celebration I’ve had in as long as I can remember. And the next day we woke up in a hotel in Hollywood, grabbed a couple of green juices (well, Jeremy grabbed them and surprised me with them – best hotel breakfast ever!), and we got right in the car and drove straight back to SB, straight back to school, straight back into business as usual, do not pass go and don’t you dare relax. And, I’m totally okay with that. // Today I got home from class, and my kitchen was clean, my dishes were done, and the floor was shining bright – a distinctly different state than I had left the place a few hours prior. Jeremy strikes again. This man . . . Jeremy has always taken care of me, but since I started school he has been so incredibly supportive, so thoughtful, so helpful. It leaves me speechless. I just don’t know what I did to get so lucky, but I guess I did something right. ♥ //
// Earlier this week I celebrated my birthday with my godparents. They made coconut cream, whipped with maple syrup, over mixed fresh berries. And they plopped a single candle on top and sang me happy birthday. And after I blew out the candle, Waits asked me what I wished for. And I actually got a little choked up as I said it out loud.
“For the first time in my entire life, I wished that absolutely nothing would change.”
I am so happy. Can I just press pause? Because I am so, so happy here . . .
Alright my dears, now it’s your turns! I would love to hear what’s turning your crank this week! What are you loving? What’s got you wild, inspired and swooning? Lay it on me!
And please – have a fantastic weekend!
First things first! Thank you SO MUCH for all the love and well wishes on my Birthday Love List last week. Celebrations and school were keeping me extra busy, but of course I read each comment, and every single one of them made my birthday so much better. So thank you!!! And now, on to the post . . .
Every time I post a photo or tweet or Instagram featuring the Cupow and/or the EcoJarz lids, I’m met with a flurry of excitement and interest. Everyone wants to know what they are and where to get them, which makes sense, because basically they are AWESOMESAUCE and I use mine pretty much every day.
Last week I was dropping Waits off at preschool, sitting together on the eating blanket (outdoor preschool, remember) with an EcoJarz-lidded green smoothie between us. And when his teacher saw the lid she did what everyone else does . . . well at least what every hippie does. Lots of excitement, and lots of questions.
But this time, there was a twist! Because she then proceeded to tell me that she had seen someone make a similar device using a 1/2 gallon orange juice carton – the kind with a pour spout and lid – and I was like OMG GENIUS and immediately went home and made one for myself.
And it works! Totally water tight, at least through a few uses (long enough to drink another 1/2 gallon of almond milk, at least in this house). See?
Don’t get me wrong, I still love my Cupow and my EcoJarz lids, and I’ll continue to use them every day. But from now on, I’m sending Waits off to preschool and play dates with this awesome DIY option, and I won’t have to worry about being out $9 if something gets lost or broken.
♥ ♥ ♥
It’s my birthday! Yay! Today I turn 33 years old – solidly into my thirties and so dang happy to be here. I thought I’d celebrate the occasion by sharing a collection of Little Loves. The Ultimate Love List, if you will. In no particular order and excluding the big stuff, here’s 33 mini magic miracles that are making me smile:
1. Nettle Infusions. Wahoo! I finally, finally found fresh nettles at a Farmer’s Market here in SB! I used to drink infusions weekly back in P-town, but haven’t found the fresh stuff here. Now, over a year later, I’m back on the dark green goodness and it’s got me feeling GREAT!
2. Podcasts. It’s funny, because 2013 was this amazing year of music. But since 2014 began, it’s like a switch was flipped. I’m back on the podcast train and filling my head with all sorts of fantastic things. Brain exercise. Feels good.
3. Gluten-free vegan donuts, er, Fonuts! I get to eat them for my birthday. I am EXCITED.
4. Vietnamese curry noodle soup. I had it for lunch today, it is like crack and I can’t stop. Best soup ever!
5. Finding my groove on campus. Finding my favorite spot for tea, the best routes and little footpaths, my nooks for quiet and my favorite view of the ocean. Feeling like it’s my place again.
6. Parasites! I studied them in undergrad and I know it sounds weird to most people, but I just. freaking. love. this group of organisms. Now I’m back in the lab doing a master’s in evolution, and I was immediately handed a project (!!!) looking at the evolution of . . . parasites! Couldn’t be happier. Seriously, don’t know how I got so lucky.
I know I’m weird.
7. Musical Theatre. Speaking of being a weirdo, I’m also a super musical theatre geek. And for my birthday I get to see The Book Of Mormon at my very FAVORITE Los Angeles theatre, the art deco dream, The Pantages. Swoon!
8. Making Harley’s dog food from scratch. It’s easy and so much healthier for him, and most of all I’m so happy he’s finally vegan! I’ll be writing more about this in the future. Stay tuned!
9. Exploring Vegan LA. THERE IS SO MUCH GOOD FOOD AND COMMUNITY IN LA. Holy moly. Color my socks knocked off (or something). And tonight I get to eat at Crossroads, eeeee!
10. On the first “X [Little] things I Love At Age X” I ever wrote, I listed the fact that my son – then inside my belly – had hair! (which I’d recently discovered via ultrasound).
And now, 5 years later, I’ll list that my amazing son has some seriously amazing hair, which flies wild just like his spirit. And although we talk about cutting it often (that will totally be his decision), right now I just adore my little Mowgli boy.
11. My new project with Matt, and where it may lead us. And the fact that it feels like good, important work which will benefit our community.
12. Now that I’m in graduate school, I celebrated be getting a new desk. A vintage desk that is cottage white and petal pink, shabby and adorable and . . . wait . . . pink? I NEVER wear/choose/buy pink!?
Yeah, but it’s really cute.
13. And speaking of that desk: working on my little house. It’s a labor of love, and this house is old and dilapidated, and the work is slow going, because money. But I love it, and it’s it coming together, and most of all – it’s mine. All mine.
14. Ellovi. Ugh, winter in SoCal always leaves my skin so dry. This body butter is amazeballs. It’s kept me silky soft all season, and I love it.
15. I was reading over my previous “X [Little] things I Love At Age X” posts, and I found this quote, and . . . yup! It still resonates with me in a way that I just can’t quite describe. But I adore it, and I adore Bertrand Russell, and I’m happy to repost it for Age 33!
16. Stepping up to speak out. Going to bat when somebody needs me. Living my mother’s truth, which she instilled in me – to always stand up for what’s right.
17. Vegan books for wee little Waits! I love that there are so many resources to teach my kiddo about why we live the way that we do. SOme of our favorites: V Is for Vegan. Steven the Vegan. That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals. (Also, as an aside, not vegan-specific, but An Awesome Book and An Awesome Book of Thanks are our two absolute FAVORITE children’s books.)
18. Learning about wine. Not in that snobby, “Somm” sort of way (because that’s pretty much everything eye-roll-inducing about the wine world), but just in the sense that I’ve learned what I like and what makes me purr, and that is AWESOME (because wine that hits the right spot is one of life’s greatest pleasures, for realsies).
19. And speaking of wine, growing greens (kale, chard, collards, herbs) in wine boxes.
20. Back on green smoothies. One day, a few years (years!!) ago, I was like “Hmm, so . . . I actually don’t like drinking smoothies anymore!” And so I stopped, just like that. And recently, just as suddenly, I started again. And now I drink one almost every day. And the smoothie love has returned!
22. The simplest food. Quinoa, lentils, steamed broccoli. Call me boring, I don’t care. Slather a bean/green/grain bowl with a badass sauce, and I’m solid. I eat this most nights. Soo good.
23. Living in Southern California. I’ll never leave again. I feel like this is pure paradise, and I feel gratitude every. single. day. that I get to wake up in this place each morning. It’s heaven.
24. Mexican Folk Art. It’s all over SoCal and I sure did miss it when I live up north. I love it – It makes me feel like Home.
25. Being outside. As much as possible. All the time. (See: #23)
26. And speaking of being outside, walking. Walking to have lunch with Damian today. Walking to the Farmer’s Market. Walking all around campus. Feels so good to get out and move my body, every day!
27. Juicing with Waits, when he helps me feed all the veggies into the juicer, and he insists on pushing the plunger down, and then we sit and drink our juices together. Yup, mommy bliss.
28. This amazing dish soap from The Good Home Co. This company is the gold standard in eco-friendly awesomeness, and this dish soap (I tried lavender) is THE BEST dish soap ever. Just this morning Jeremy was asking where it went how how we could please get some more, because oh man it’s just really just a step above. Like, how could dish soap be exciting? I know I know. But I promise you – it can!
29. Getting our Vegan Cuts snack box every month! I know I keep yammering on about this, so I’ll keep it brief. But suffice it to say, we have a blast each and every month opening our box. I love the way Waits lights up when he pulls out each treasure. Love it!
30. Visiting farm sanctuaries. Hugging cows. Pretty great way to spend a weekend. ♥
31. Planning a complete overhaul of Waits’s bedroom, including a custom-built bunk bed and a sun burst ceiling. Wahoo!
32. Changing my hair . . . frequently!
33. And finally, the impending 5th birthday of Bonzai Aphrodite. TIME FLIES, Y’ALL!
Now it’s your turn my dears! What do you think? Care to share the things that’ve been making you light up inside? I’d love to hear them!
♥ ♥ ♥